End of the Line, The Share this with a friend

by Sharon E. McKay

USBBY Outstanding International Books, Honor List Hackmatack Children’s Choice Book Award Ann Connor Brimer Award, Atlantic Book Awards Best Books for Kids & Teens, starred selection, Canadian Children’s Book Centre Silver Birch Express Award, Ontario Library Association Book of the Year for Children finalist, Canadian Library Association IODE Violet Downey Book Award finalist Golden Oak Award nomination, Ontario Library Association

Ordinary citizens risk everything to save a young Jewish girl in wartime Holland.

Five-year-old Beatrix looks on in horror as the soldier forces her mother off the tram. It is 1942 in Amsterdam, and everyone knows what happens to Jews who are taken away by the Nazis. The soldier turns his attention to Beatrix, when suddenly, the ticket-taker, Lars Gorter, blurts out that she is his niece. With his brother Hans, the tram conductor, they manage to rescue the child from the same fate as her mother.

The two elderly brothers realize that they are now in charge of the little girl. They are at a loss—after all, neither one has ever married, let alone has children. They know that harboring a Jew could cost them their lives, but in desperation, they turn to a neighbor, Mrs. Vos, for help. But even these kindly rescuers cannot shield Beatrix totally from the horrors of war.

This suspenseful novel vividly portrays the fear, uncertainty, and terror of the Nazi occupation in Holland. It is a story that reflects both the worst and best of humankind. A worthy addition to children’s books about the Holocaust, The End of the Line will leave young readers to ponder how the most dreadful conditions can lead ordinary citizens to perform the most heroic acts. People like Lars, Hans, and Mrs. Vos, who risked their own lives to save Jews in wartime Europe, were later recognized and honored as “Righteous Gentiles.”


“This novel . . . [allows] children to learn some grim realities without annihilating their sense of hope.”
—Kirkus Reviews, 08/27/14

“A standout and an essential addition.”
—Canadian Children’s Book News, 03/15

“A thoroughly appealing, totally engaging book for young reader.”
—The Children’s War, 08/29/14

“I was blown away by how thoughtful Sharon McKay was in the telling of her story, how gracefully she handled the horror of the war.”
—Mabel’s Fables, 10/14/14

“A story that will stay in your thoughts long after you have read the last word. Superbly written!”
—Sally’s Creative Corner, 10/16/14

“An excellent short novel.”
—LibrisNotes, 11/27/14

“A suitable introduction for children to the Holocaust and World War II.”
—Youth Services Book Review, 12/06/14

“The author combined history and fiction and made both come alive. ”
—Association of Jewish Libraries Reviews, 12/14

“Gentle, simple story . . . with well-drawn characters.”
—Library Media Connection, 06/14

“Would serve as a good introduction to the deprivations suffered during war.”
—River Readers, 01/27/15

“Makes your heart feel like it’s beating out of your chest with each turn of the page. It’s wonderfully descriptive with emotion . . . You’ll be angry, you’ll be horrified, but ultimately, you will feel incredible love and relief. I loved this book.”
—Mom Read It, 02/08/15

“A wonderful, amazing book.”
—Inside Toronto, 10/22/14

“Sensitively touches on the atrocities of war in a way that is understandable to younger readers.”
—Jewish Book Council, 06/15

“McKay is able still to provide moments of sweet tenderness and a reassuring ending that will fill one’s heart with gladness and one’s eyes with tears.”
—Can Lit for Little Canadians, 06/30/15

“Suspenseful . . . will engage young readers”